Using Influencer Marketing for Measurable Response

Influencer marketing uses key personalities and credible thought-leaders to share a product or service’s message—and drive response—among targeted online communities in the marketplace. Think of it as a digital, more down-to-earth twist on celebrity endorsements.

Generating Buzz in the Digital Age
Who has influenced your purchases lately? Nothing against Brooke Shields and her Calvins, but target audiences for many B2C and B2B brands are more likely to listen to what their favorite digital thought-leaders—bloggers, YouTubers, etc.—have to say about products and services.

There’s an authenticity and authority that comes along with their opinions and testimonials. Their fans and followers watch what they’re doing, recommending, using…so if you can get your product in the hands (or heads) of the thought leaders, just think of the potential for message amplification and sales!

Meeting the Market In the Moment
An influencer marketing strategy incorporates your product or service into what your audience is doing (e.g. reading a blog post, watching a video), establishing relevance.

Read more about effective targeting and response in moments-based marketing here.

And let’s face it: a video commercial or banner ad or is easy enough to tune out or skip with ad-blockers or the “x” button. No wonder a 2015 study by Nielsen Catalina found influencer marketing had 11 times the ROI of a banner advertising campaign.

It’s also no surprise that Tomoson survey participants rated influencer marketing as the fastest-growing online customer acquisition channel, ahead of organic search, paid search, and email marketing. Consider these other eye-openers:

  • Businesses are making $6.50 for each $1 spent on influencer marketing.
  • 51% of marketers believe they acquire better customers through influencer marketing.
  • 50% of marketers use influencer marketing to generate leads and drive sales, 40% are focused on brand engagement, and the remainder focuses on content promotion or other activities.

Will Influencer Marketing Work For Your Product or Service?
While this medium is typically used by consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands that are looking for broad reach, influencer marketing can help almost any B2C or B2B company, from insurers to software companies, generate response. All it takes is collaborating with the right individuals online to create and distribute content through social media, blogs, or both.

Find out who is talking about what matters to your audience.
Start investigations by heading over to your favorite social media channels. Find out what hashtags are most commonly used when people post about your brand, and see which users are generating the most action around it. If you want to take a deeper dive, use paid tools like Buzzsumo or TapInfluence to identify key subject matter influencers and the most shared content. Get as close to your company’s target audience as possible by targeting influencer searches geographically or by demographic factors or category.

Credible influencers aren’t always who you might expect. You may discover any number of consumers, industry bloggers, journalists, authors, podcasters, or researchers. Be careful to not get too “wowed” by an individual’s high number of social followers. Their thousands of fans may indicate great reach, but their audience may not be very responsive, suggesting the influencer isn’t really driving people to take action. (And that’s what you want!)

Engage influencers in your strategy.
Ideally, you’ll work with an influencer by creating content together that drives a desired action. But you may take a more passive approach by sending an influencer a product sample they can use to generate their own content. Either way, you’ll leverage the content via social postings and shares.

Blogging is a measurable way to leverage influencer marketing. Almost 1 in 4 bloggers in an Orbit Media survey, in fact, are doing influencer outreach to find individuals they can collaborate with for guest blogs, exclusive thought leadership commentary, or quotes.

Track response, test, and tweak.
If your goal is to drive awareness, you can track the reach based on your (and your influencers’) number of followers and fans. You can also track the number of times your brand is mentioned on social sites, or how many new “likes” or followers your pages collect after the content is deployed. On the other hand, if your goal is web traffic, leads, and sales, you’ll have to use (and ask your influencers to use) dedicated URLs pointing followers to your site or landing page.

Keep in mind that measuring influencer marketing, especially over the social channels, isn’t always straightforward. It can be challenging to attribute influencer website visits that come from shared social posts or from organic traffic inspired by an influencer’s mention of your brand. That’s why we recommend providing an excusive offer for the influencer’s followers. Aside from promoting immediate, “act now” response, it’s an offer that responders associate directly with the influencer—and the campaign’s performance can help you measure the effectiveness of that particular influencer.

Once you get a handle on which influencers, offers, and channels are yielding the best results, you’ll have the opportunity to experiment with new ideas. You may need to go back to the drawing board and find influencers with larger, smaller, or more niche audiences. You may find that your influencer-generated activity is booming on YouTube—but not so much on Facebook. Or, you may discover that partnering with a thought leader to create and distribute blog posts is generating more leads than ever before.

As with most other forms of marketing, influencer marketing can be a moving target—but finding an effective strategy can be worth its weight in gold. And that means an ever-expanding audience and rising sales.

Contact us to find out if influencer marketing can be a good fit for your company’s goals.